Alex Reid was the one that got away from Tom Hilbert. Kind of.
Never before has Colorado State volleyball head coach leaned so heavily on a transfer player. He’s never had to until this year.
“We’ve probably had three transfers in the 18 years I’ve been here,” Hilbert said.
CSU is more than just the premier program in the state; it’s a dynasty. Landing top notch recruits, especially those from Colorado, has not been much of a problem.
Reid, a graduate of Grandview High School in Aurora, Colorado, was the exception.
“We recruited her, but she wanted to get out of here. We’re glad she came back,” Hilbert said with a laugh.
This year was supposed to be somewhat of a rebuild for CSU. In addition to losing three All-MW players in Marlee Reynolds, Deedra Foss and Kelsey Snider, the Rams also saw standout Kaitlin Bestgen decide to forego her senior year, leaving them in desperate need of hitting. Reid turned out to be the piece that completed that puzzle.
“It was the right move for us,” Hilbert said of bringing Reid in for just one season. “We needed that position and she has provided so much maturity and leadership. It’s been great.”
Reid opted to get away from her home state after high school, and the allure of going to school in California at Long Beach State was too much. She spent three seasons with the 49ers and was one of the best players on a team that reached the second round of the NCAA tournament last season.
Reid decided she wanted to spend her senior year closer to home. However, the decision came with some doubts.
“I was worried coming in,” Reid said. “It’s a weird position, being a senior and being new. I didn’t know what type of position I would play on the team. Everyone’s been super welcoming and super nice. There’s not anybody on the team you don’t get along with.”
Any uncertainty of her role with the team did not last long. She played every single point for the Rams this season – literally every single one – at the left outside hitter position, and led the team with 312 kills. Her 3.18 kills per set ranked fifth-best in the conference. Reid also proved to be a reliable server, and versatile defender. She averaged 2.89 digs per set, second on the Rams next to libero Jaime Colaizzi.
“Just a perfect fit honestly,” teammate Alexandra Poletto said. “She has so much experience and can execute certain plays that some of us can’t do. It’s great to learn from her. She also brings maturity in the mental game.”
The experience and maturity came in part from her time at LBSU, where she also played sand volleyball for two seasons. As a freshman, she played under three-time Olympic gold medalist Misty May-Treanor.
“Sand volleyball really helped me to read hitters a lot better,” Reid said. “When I played way back when in high school, I wasn’t very good at volleyball. I’ll just say it. I didn’t really know the game as much, I was just athletic. I think sand volleyball really helped me understand the game a little bit more.”
Reid said she misses her sand volleyball days a bit. And while she is happy to be back closer to home, she still misses the California lifestyle she got to live for three years.
“It’s different being in school when it’s cold outside, it’s definitely weird,” Reid said. “I have friends who are in California and they’re like, ‘oh my God, it’s freezing’ when it’s like 55 degrees there. It’s like 20 degrees here. I’m readjusting still.”
Helping her readjust has been her former high school and current CSU teammate Grace Gordon, who Reid lives with, along with fellow star Adrianna Culbert.
Reid’s been able to gel with her new team on and off the court. When the team adopted honorary teammate Sara Robinson through the Friend with Jaclyn Foundation, it was Reid and setter Crystal Young who became closest with the 11-year old, even hosting a sleepover with Robinson in Moby Arena.
Back on the court, Reid is now looking to help carry the No. 13 Rams in the NCAA tournament after a regular season that has exceeded fans’ expectations.
“A lot of people said this year was going to be a rebuilding year and didn’t know what was going to happen,” Reid said. “Then we’ve done this amazing thing of going through conference undefeated and being on a 20-game win streak. It’s been pretty awesome. It’s sad that it’s finally coming to an end but I’ve had an amazing time.”
Collegian Sports Editor Emmett McCarthy can be reached by email at email@example.com and on Twitter @emccarthy22.